There’s a lot of talk about different kinds of marriage penalties in the tax code (when being legally married puts you at a disadvantage relative to cohabiting and filing separately). They’re well worth addressing, but for the most part, they’re a matter of putting pressure on couples at the margin—marriage means forfeiting a few thousand dollars you may not be able to afford to lose. And we don’t mean to add a luxury tax to marriage!

But, at First Things, I’m writing about the most insidious marriage penalty in our tax-and-benefits regime. For disabled recipients of SSI, marriage doesn’t mean paying more in taxes; it means risking their life by forfeiting skilled nursing help. It means someone who would otherwise be pledging “for richer, for poorer” is instead held to a promise of immiseration.

SSI holds recipients to tight asset limits—$2k for singles, $3k for married couples. It’s obviously cruel and punitive for both single and married recipients. But it represents a much higher barrier to marriage than most “marriage penalties” and strikes at the promise of mutual aid people long to give each other when they wed.

Read more in Other Feminisms.

Written by External Article
Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection. Have a great story about caregiving? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles

I’m disabled. Please help me.

I’m disabled. Please help me.

Revolving doors at office towers might as well be called “blind-person milling machines.” Try finding the bottle of vitamins you want on a CVS shelf...

The State of Paid Family Leave

The State of Paid Family Leave

"The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world BECAUSE it doesn’t have paid family leave. In other words, our position as one of...

Old lesbian love

Old lesbian love

The week we move in together, Pam breaks her leg. They call it a fragile fracture, and I argue about the word fragile. “Why fragile? This woman...

Popular categories

Finances
Burnout
After Caregiving
Housing
Relationships
Finding Meaning
Planning
Dying
Finding Support
Work
Grief

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts

0 Comments

Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.